French contractor Eiffage reported a 3% year-on-year rise in net sales for 2011 to €13.7 billion, while operating profit on ordinary activities rose 5.6% to €1.1 billion, fuelled by a strong second half.

The construction division recorded a 4.4% increase in sales to €3.8 billion in 2011, driven by growth of 5.3% in France, 4% in the Benelux region and 18.9% in Poland. Offsetting this, Eiffage said activity and order intake in the Czech Republic fell sharply, prompting the company to discontinue its activities in the country.

Meanwhile, the company's public works division recorded stable sales of €3.9 billion after a downturn in civil engineering and earthmoving sales in France was offset partly by an increase in sales for road construction and maintenance. And while further declines in Spain were reported, activity remained upbeat in Germany.

The energy division recorded a 1.6% increase in sales to €3.1 billion, while sales in the concessions division increased by 7.7% year-on-year to €2.1 billion, and the metals division reported a 5.2% decrease in sales to €775 million.

But the company reported a decline in net attributable profit to €205 million in 2011 from €232 million in 2010 after restructuring costs impacted results.

Indeed, this year the concessions division is expected to see net profit hit by costs connected with further restructuring its debt. Eiffage's net debt amounted to €12.5 billion at the end of last year, mainly lodged at its concessions division.

Nevertheless, Eiffage's order book reached €13.5 billion at the end of 2011, up 25.5% year-on-year, boosted by a €3.3 billion French high-speed rail project it won in July. It said it expected to see increases in sales and margins the contracting divisions this year.

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